(Time to read this Blog is about 3.5 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking or smiling:

  1. My Quote of the week:

“Our staff know stuff and they hate it when we don’t ask.  When we don’t ask, they assume we don’t care and, if we don’t care, why should they?  When we listen to our staff, two wonderful things happen.  First, we learn from them…and, second, we honour them.  So, ask, listen, honour and learn! ” 

…Donald Cooper.

  1. Quick Biz Tip: Planning ahead and building for the future:

A client of ours in Western Canada has just built their own office building. They built it bigger than they need right now by 11 offices, to allow for expansion. In the meantime, they’re renting those 11 offices out and earning a nice additional income each month.  Very clever.

Do you have a clear Vision for the future of your business and are you planning and building your organization and facilities to get you there, profitably?  

  1.  Going to extraordinary lengths to attract and retain employees.  The McDonald’s restaurant in Collingwood, Ontario, a 4-seasons resort town north of Toronto, has rented a van and hired a driver to travel an hour and a half south to Brampton, a suburb of Toronto, to pick up staff and bring them to Collingwood for their shift.  Then, 8 hours later, the van returns them home to Brampton…another 90 minutes, 
  2. Are tourists important to your business and community? I’ve just updated my ‘step-by-step’ ‘Tourism Development Idea Generator for Businesses & Communities’. This 202-page Guide will lead you and your community through a comprehensive process that will help each of your tourism experience and service providers generate 100s of niche visitor experience ideas and facilitate the creation of 100s of marketing partnerships that will add value, create seamless visitor experiences, attract more visitors, have them stay longer and want to return…and dramatically increase your tourism   

To purchase and download this updated Guide, for just $48, Click Here.  To enquire about my ‘straight talk’, high-content Keynote or Workshop on ‘The Business Side of Tourism …Partnering For Prosperity!  for your community, contact me at donald@donaldcooper.com.  


Now, to this week’s important topic:

Why can’t we attract top-performers?

Attracting top-performers is the #1 challenge facing every business in the world today.  I doubt that this is a temporary problem.  There seems to be a fundamental shift in the attitude towards ‘work’ on the part of a large segment of the population in the ‘western’ world.

One of my big fears is that employers are now hiring people who have no possibility of performing as required, or honouring the business culture, and it’s going to cost a fortune and create great disruption to get rid of them, including wrongful dismissal lawsuits, when these folks become intolerable. 

In spite of how challenging it is to attract, engage and retain top-performers, we must keep trying.  It’s still true that the best people have to work for someone, it’s just that we have to deserve them.  To help you out, I’ve created a check list of 20 key areas that you can work on to make your business the preferred supplier of meaningful employment.

Note:  Some of the key points below raise tough questions that will require real soul-searching, self-awareness and guts to answer honestly. Denying reality doesn’t change reality…so give it your best shot.  

In which of the following key areas must we improve to attract, engage and retain top performers?

  1. We’ve not clearly defined who we’re looking for. How do we improve our clarity? Do we have updated ‘outcomes-based’ Job Descriptions?
  2. We’re not looking in the right places. Where should we be looking?  Where are the people we need working, living or being educated right now?  Are we using online employment sites like Indeed, Monster and Zip Recruiter?
  3. Our industry is perceived negatively by our target employees. What can we do to honestly change that perception?
  4. The word is out that we’re a toxic or dead-end employer. What makes us toxic and what will we do to change that negative perception?
  5. Our employment interview process makes us look unprofessional. Or poor screening or our  desperation to ‘find bodies’ during the interview stage lets the wrong people in.  What are the ‘Interview Process’ best practices of world-class companies from which we can learn? 
  6. We’re not effectively ‘selling’ top candidates on the culture, benefits and opportunities we offer. How can we do a better ‘sales job’? Do we have a classy Company Brochure or, even better, a video, that tells our company story, states our values, explains why what we do matters, talks about market leadership, customer and environmental commitments, pay and benefits, employee health and safety, how we help our community and includes quotes from delighted employees about what a great career choice we are?  
  7. During the recruitment process, we describe the job, our business culture or the career opportunities in terms that are not realistic or true, so many of our new-hires leave in a few months in frustration.  What will we do to become more truthful during the interview process and to fix the employment experience so that we can attract top-performers without deceiving and then disappointing them?
  8. Our ‘Pay – Benefit – Work-life Balance – Vacation Package’ is not competitive. How do we make our package competitive and still make a profit?  What improvements in operational efficiency are required to make that happen…and in which parts of the business?
  9. Our hours or rules of work don’t fit with most people’s lifestyle. How can we improve these …or compensate for them?
  10. Our location works against us. How can we overcome that?   What bold, innovative thinking  might be required?
  11. Lack of effective on-boarding and ongoing training. How can we create world-class onboarding and ongoing training and development?
  12. Negative (toxic) culture and environment. Which aspects of our culture need improving and how will we do that?
  13. Lack of respect, diversity and inclusion. How do we become more respectful and welcoming of a variety of people, backgrounds, experience and ideas?
  14. Incompetent, ineffective or abusive supervision and / or management. Do we have the quality and competence of supervisors and managers that top-performers want to work for?  If not, who and what needs ‘fixing’ or replacing?
  15. Poor ongoing communication. Little or no feedback…mostly negative.  How do we improve the quality and quantity of our communication?
  16. Supervisors or managers who don’t listen. Our front-line people know stuff and they hate it when we don’t listen! How do we score on ‘listening’…and how do we improve that score?
  17. Lack of praise, acknowledgement, celebrations, joy or ‘hugs’. How will we create a culture of joy, appreciation and celebration?
  18. Lack of ‘meaningful work’, or they don’t know why their job is important. How will we help each team member understand the importance of their job to the customer, the team and to our bottom line.
  19. Lack of opportunity to grow. We rarely discuss career wishes and opportunities with our team members, so the best ones leave for career opportunities elsewhere.  How and when will we start those conversations with each of our team members?
  20. Dishonesty…broken promises. Do we ever mislead, make promises we don’t keep, or outright lie to any of our team members?  What do we commit to do to stop that immediately?

For every decision you make to improve performance in any of these 20 key areas, get specific about what will be done, by whom, by when, at what cost, with what outcomes, measured how and rewarded how.  This is how stuff gets done!   

If you’d like help with this, we can chat about ‘possibilities’. I’m easy to find at donald@donaldcooper.com


That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 

2 Responses to Why can’t we attract top performers?
  1. Comment *Donald, I think many of us are still “reeling” at the effects of the Pandemic and the changes in the labour market that have occurred. I hear many fellow small business owners (myself included) who are still complaining and even “ranting” about the situation. It’s time to face a new reality. We have implemented a few of the steps you have listed and realize that we must pull out all the stops to attract and retain new, quality team members. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful and insightful ideas on how to deal with this unprecedented issue.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for Donald's Free!
"Straight Talk" Business Coach Blog

Sign up to get valuable and insightful tips weekly!
Simple Share ButtonsIt's only fair to share
Simple Share Buttons